GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M FRANK MALLOY..
AND I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11..
CENTRAL GEORGIA COULD BE IN FOR SOME SEVERE WEATHER TONIGHT... AS STORMS THAT SPARKED WARNINGS BACK IN ALABAMA THIS EVENING MOVE OUR WAY.
FOR THE LATEST UPDATE ON THE FORECAST... WE JOIN CHIEF METEOROLOGIST BEN JONES IN THE WEATHER CENTER.
THANKS BEN.. WE'LL TALK WITH YOU AGAIN IN JUST A FEW MINUTES.
A MACON CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE TOOK THE FIRST STEP TOWARD PASSING A LAW THAT WOULD BAN SMOKING IN MANY PUBLIC PLACES...
THE PUBLIC SAFTEY COMMITTEE PASSED THE SMOKING BAN AFTER MORE THAN AN HOUR OF DISCUSSION.
THEY MADE SEVERAL CHANGES TO THE ORIGINAL BILL... ADDING LANGUAGE BANNING SMOKING IN PARKING LOTS... AND PRIVATE CLUBS...
BUT THE PROPOSED LAW WOULD ALLOW SMOKING IN SPECIALIZED TOBACCO SHOPS AND LIVE- IN HEALTHCARE FACILITIES.
NANCY WHITE CO-SPONSORED THE BILL.
SHE SAYS THE LAW JUST STRENGTHENS STATE-LAWS ALREADY IN EFFECT...
"What we're really doing is closing some of the loop-holes in the state wide ordinance that passed in 2005. I think the general public is going to notice very little change after this ordinance becomes effective which I think will probably be September first of this year."
THE LAW COULD BE VOTED ON BY FULL COUNCIL AS SOON AS NEXT TUESDAY.
EIGHT COUNCIL MEMBERS... MORE THAN HALF.... CO-SPONSORED THE BILL.
THAT MEANS IT'S LIKELY THE LAW WILL PASS.
BUT THE PROPOSED LAW DIDN'T PASS WITHOUT CONTROVERSY...
COUNCILMAN JAMES TIMELY SAYS HIS COLLEGUES VIOLATED OPEN MEETING LAWS WHEN DRAFTING THE ORDINANCE...
HE SAYS THE SERIES OF EMAILS THAT PASSED BETWEEN SPONSORS OF THE BILL WERE EQUIVALENT TO HOLDING A MEETING... AND NEEDED TO BE ANNOUNCED AND MADE PUBLIC.
HE SAYS HE PLANS TO FILE ETHICS VIOLATIONS.
MACON MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT HOSTED THE ANNUAL 'MAYOR'S NIGHT IN' THIS EVENING...
THE PUBLIC WAS INVITED TO VISIT CITY HALL FROM FIVE THIRTY TO SEVEN P.M. FOR AN OPPORTUNITY TO MEET ONE ON ONE WITH THE LEADER OF CITY POLITICS.
FLETCHER BATTS WAS ONE OF THEM.
HE SAYS HE WANTS TO CREATE A SAFE PLACE FOR KIDS TO SOCIALIZE... BY HAVING CHARPERONED PARTIES AT THE CITY'S RECREATION CENTERS.
BUT BATTS SAYS HE HASN'T BEEN ABLE TO GET PERMISSION.
HE'S HOPING THE MAYOR WILL HELP CHANGE THAT.
"I think it's cool. I've never talked to a mayor before one on one so this will be a first for me. If you can talk to anybody of his stature one-on-one I think it's a good idea."
ABOUT SEVEN PEOPLE ATTENDED THIS YEAR'S MAYOR'S NIGHT IN EVENT.
THE HOUSTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE ARRESTED ONE PERSON... AND IS LOOKING FOR ANOTHER ACCUSED OF ROBBING A CHILDREN'S LEMONADE STAND.
21-YEAR-OLD AMBER UMBARGER FACES THREE COUNTS OF ROBBERY BY SUDDEN SNATCHING.. THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE IS STILL LOOKING FOR 20-YEAR-OLD GAGE ALLEN TURNER
13-YEAR-OLD CHELSEA EDWARDS SHOWED US WHERE THE ROBBERY HAPPENED SATURDAY.
SHE SAYS SHE AND TWO OTHER GIRLS WERE SELLING LEMONADE... WHEN A COUPLE CAME UP... AND STARTED ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR STAND.
EDWARDS SAYS THAT'S WHEN THE MAN STOLE HER JAR WITH 130 DOLLARS IN IT... AND RAN.
SHE SAYS SHE WAS RAISING MONEY FOR HER 2-YEAR-OLD COUSIN -- LOGAN -- WHO IS ABOUT TO UNDERGO TREATMENT FOR A RARE INTESTINAL DISEASE.
Chelsea Edwards "I was thinking this guy was weird! Because why would he go up and rob three girls... for money?"
INVESTIGATORS SAY TURNER GOT AWAY IN A CAR... LEAVING UMBARGER BEHIND.
THEY SAY TURNER WAS LAST SEEN IN A SMALL WHITE VEHICLE THAT COULD BE A 20-10 HYUNDAI ACCENT.
ANYONE WITH INFORMATION ON THE ROBBERY CAN CALL THE HOUSTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE (478) 542-2085.
AGAIN.. THAT'S 478-542-2085.
A NEW PROPOSAL COULD RELEASE LOW LEVEL CRIMINALS WITHOUT THEM POSTING BOND.
JUDGE WILLIAM SHURLING SAYS THE GOAL IS TO FREE UP SPACE AT THE JAIL AND SAVE THE COUNTY SOME MONEY.
SHURLING WORKED WITH THE MACON-BIBB CRIMINAL JUSTICE COORDINATING COUNCIL TO COME UP WITH THE PLAN.
HE SAYS THE PRE-TRIAL RELEASE PROGRAM IS IN THE BEGINNING STAGES.
Judge William Shurling, Assistant Chief Magistrate: "A recognizance bond is where someone is released without an actually amount of cash being put up. You can still place serious conditions of no contact and a number of other conditions to protect the victim."
SHERIFF JERRY MODENA SAYS HE'S SKEPTICAL, BUT WILL WORK WITH THE COURT TO TRY TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS FACING THE JAIL.
THE FEDERAL BUDGET BATTLES ARE CONTINUING ON CAPITOL HILL.
LAWMAKERS ARE TURNING THEIR ATTENTION TO HOW THE NATION WILL SPEND MONEY NEXT YEAR.
PRESIDENT OBAMA COULD PROPOSE CUTS TO POPULAR PROGRAMS LIKE MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY.
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... SHOULD MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY BE CUT TO BALANCE THE FEDERAL BUDGET?
SO FAR 87 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO... THEY SHOULDN'T.
13 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES... THEY SHOULD.
VOTE NOW... LOOK FOR THE QUESTION IN THE "DON'T MISS" BOX ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
WITH GAS PRICES CREEPING CLOSE TO 4 DOLLARS... ONE GROUP HOPES A LITTLE WORSHIP... WILL BRING THOSE COSTS BACK DOWN. IT'S A PART OF THE BEACON OF LIGHT CHRISTIAN CENTER'S PRAYER AT THE PUMP.
THEY SAY THEY'LL DRIVE UP THIS SATURDAY... AND PRAY PUMPSIDE FOR A DROP IN COSTS.
THE CHURCH'S PASTOR... MARSHALL MABRY SAYS THEY'RE INVITING PEOPLE OF ALL RELIGIONS TO PRAY FOR GOD'S HELP WITH STABILITY IN THE U-S ECONOMY... LOWER GAS PRICES... AND PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST.
MABRY SAYS HE HOPES THIS IS THE START OF SOMETHING MUCH BIGGER..
Pastor Marshall Mabry, Beacon of Light: "I actually want to start a movement. I want to continue this to go from Dublin to Macon, from Macon to Atlanta and across the country. Right now, gas is $3.65 here in Dublin, but I know in other places it's already at $4.00, so I believe when we come together and pray as a community, we can really begin to make something happen."
PRAYER STARTS AT 9 A-M THIS SATURDAY AT THE KROGER GAS PUMPS IN DUBLIN.
PASTOR MABRY SAYS HE'S HOPING TO START FIRST SATURDAY GAS PRAYERS EACH MONTH... STARTING IN MAY.
THE TITLE OF AFRICAN HUNTER OF THE YEAR IN 2009 BELONGED TO A CENTRAL GEORGIA WOMAN.
CONNIE RAINEY STARTED HUNTING ABOUT 10 YEARS AGO.. HER HOBBY HAS TAKEN HER TO AFRICA AND ALL OVER THE WORLD.
BRITTINY BARBER SHOWS US HOW THAT HOBBY TURNED INTO A PASSION..
<< AT CONNIE RAINEY'S FORT VALLEY HOME ... YOU CAN FIND ANIMALS OF ALL KINDS.
THE HUNTING HOBBY SHE TOOK UP 10 YEARS AGO... NOW A PASSION.
Connie Rainey: "I went to Africa. I got four animals with four shots and I've been passionate about hunting ever since."
HER 13 TRIPS EARNED HER THE TITLE OF AFRICAN HUNTER OF THE YEAR... THROUGH THE MIAMI SAFARI CLUB INTERNATIONAL.
Connie Rainey, "African hunter of the year is really looking at the lifetime of what i've accomplished in all these trips to Africa."
THE TROPHIES INCLUDE A LION... ZEBRA... AND EVEN A WARTHOG...
BUT HER KNACK FOR HUNTING ALSO FOLLOWS HER IN THE STATES.
Connie Rainey, "My first four turkeys were a grand slam. Then I did a second grand slam and a world slam. I did the world slam in six weeks."
HER HUSBAND FRANK... NICKNAMED HER "ONE SHOT RAINEY...."
Frank Freshwater, "I though you know it'd be really great if she was not only my soulmate she became my hunting mate you've got to be very careful what you wish for cause it can be very expensive."
RAINEY SAYS HER LOVE FOR THE SPORT CAME UNEXPECTEDLY.... AND WHEN SHE BIT THE BULLET... SHE WAS HOOKED.
Connie Rainey: "I was a single parent with an 11 year old son who wanted to learn to shoot and hunt and it never occurred to me that I would enjoy hunting."
THE COUPLE RUNS VALLEY OUTDOORS... WHICH COORDINATES HUNTING TRIPS ALL OVER THE WORLD....
BUT RAINEY SAYS HER FAVORITE LOCATION BY FAR IS AFRICA.
Connie Rainey, "I saw how ethical it was in Africa nothing goes to waste absolutely nothing. Not even the entrails are left in the woods the bones are used I have jewelry made of bones."
AND ALTHOUGH SHE'S BEEN OUT OF COMMISSION FOR A FEW MONTHS WITH A BROKEN LEG... RAINEY SAYS SHE'S READY TO ADD ANOTHER PRIZE TO HER COLLECTION.
Connie Rainey: "I'm so ready to go hunting again. It's time for a spring turkey"
BRITTINY BARBER 13WAMZ EYEWITNESS NEWS >>
RAINEY SAYS TO HUNT IN AFRICA... YOU MUST HAVE A PERMITS FOR THE ANIMALS YOU KILL JUST LIKE HERE IN THE U-S.
HUNTERS PAY THE LANDOWNERS FOR THE TROPHY.
PRICES CAN RANGE FROM A FEW HUNDRED DOLLARS... UP INTO THE THOUSANDS DEPENDING ON THE KIND OF ANIMAL .
HUNDREDS OF CRIME VICTIMS SPENT TIME IN FORSYTH TODAY SHARING THEIR STORIES AS PART OF NATIONAL VICTIMS RIGHTS WEEK..
STATE OFFICIALS AND ADVOCATES OFFERED EDUCATION AND SUPPORT TO THOSE STILL DEALING WITH THE AFFECTS OF A VIOLENT CRIME.
Ann Crooms "it was horrible. It was the most horrible experience of my life and I just thought I would die."
ANN CROOMS IS STILL RECOVERING FROM HER DAUGHTER MARYANNE'S MURDER 28 YEARS AGO.
Ann Crooms "it just tears half your heart out when you lose a child...."
SHE SAYS HER DAUGHTER'S KILLER WAS SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON, BUT COULD BE RELEASED ON PAROLE.
"they gave him life he does not need to be out of prison, he needs to stay in there for the rest of his life"
***nats, we are anxious to hear from you...***
CROOMS AND HER SON ATTENDED A VICTIM'S VISITORS' DAY RUN BY TWO STATE AGENCIES... WHERE THEY AND THREE-HUNDRED-50 OTHER PEOPLE GOT A CHANCE TO VOICE THEIR CONCERNS TO THE STATE PAROLE BOARD.
James Donald "This is an opportunity for victims who happen to be the parole board's biggest stake holders, to see us, to talk to us."
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF PAROLES JAMES DONALD SAYS VICTIMS' TESTIMONIES HOLD A LOT OF WEIGHT.
James Donald "we need to have that type of feedback in order to make what we call an informed decision."
THE EVENT HELPED KICKED OFF NATIONAL VICTIMS' RIGHTS WEEK IN GEORGIA.
***nats of clapping/ speech***
THE CROOMS FAMILY SAYS NOTHING WILL MAKE UP FOR THE LOSS OF THEIR LOVED ONE...BUT KNOWING THEY HAVE A VOICE AND SUPPORT.... BRINGS THEM THAT MUCH CLOSER TO CLOSURE.
Arthur Crooms "It gives you somewhat peace of mind knowing you can talk to the parole board and state your case."
>> SEVERAL AGENCIES AND ORGANIZATIONS SHARED INFORMATION ABOUT RESOURCES FOR CRIME VICTIMS.
FOR MORE ON THOSE RESOURCES....LOOK FOR THIS STORY ON OUR HOME PAGE...13 W-M-A-Z-DOT-COM.